Mike Brown

Brown pinpoints two areas Kings must fix to close NBA season

NBC Universal, Inc.

With the 2024 NBA All-Star break in the rearview mirror, the 31-23 Kings begin the second half of the season in eighth place in the Western Conference, half a game behind the No. 7 seeded Dallas Mavericks and 1.5 games back of the No. 6 seed New Orleans Pelicans. 

The Kings, holding the same record as it did after 54 games during the 2022-2023 NBA season, understand they have to improve if they are serious about contending for an NBA championship. 

In talking to reporters Tuesday, Kings coach Mike Brown highlighted two areas his team has to fix during the final 28 regular-season games. 

“As crazy as it sounds, defensively for us, we’ve made improvements in a lot of areas,” Brown said (h/t Fox 40’s Sean Cunningham). “The one area that’s hurting us -- hurting us really bad -- is defending the 3-point line. We’re dead last in defending the 3-point line. Even if we were basically average or slightly above average defending the 3 -- not even the best -- our defensive rate, we’d be eighth in the NBA. That’s a huge jump. There are areas that we have to improve upon when it comes to closing out not just the hot guys, but to non-hot guys as well.

“Offensively, the reality of it is our free throw efficiency. If our free throw efficiency was better than what it is, especially if we were the same as last year, we’d be a top-10, maybe even top-5 offense, very easily.”

Sacramento is dead last in the NBA in free-throw percentage (73.2) and opposing 3-point percentage (39.7).

While easy to overlook, Brown likely knows how many points the Kings have left on the table at the charity stripe this season — 315 to be exact. 

Defensively, Sacramento allows opposing teams to turn into units of sharpshooters. A facet arguably harder to correct than sinking free throws, Brown knows it’s holding his team back from potentially favorable defensive numbers.

A season and a half into Brown’s Sacramento tenure, the 53-year-old already has taken the Kings to new heights, snapping its 16-year NBA playoff drought.

But with championship aspirations, he’ll be on his team to strive for more, beginning at the free-throw and 3-point lines.

“You know, our guys are doing a lot of good things," Brown said. "And they have to continue to try to perform at a high level in a lot of different areas. But again, there are a couple of areas that we can really improve on, offensively and defensively — I just gave you probably the one major one in each category. 

“There are a couple of areas that we need to focus on and try like the Dickens to become a lot better than what we are right now.”

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